The Winter Olympics Have Already Begun for Ad Execs

When it comes to the Olympics, athletes aren’t the only ones breaking records. Every four years advertisers try to break industry records. 2012’s Summer Olympics in Beijing broke the advertising record of any Olympics (summer and winter) by obtaining over $1 Billion in ad sales.

It is not expected that the 2014 Winter Olympics will surpass that benchmark. However, NBC is expected to generate $800 million in ad sales, $100 million more than the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

One of NBC’s struggles lies directly with the host city. Sochi, Russia instituted strict legislation that bans any form of gay affection or protest. Russian officials have announced the law will still apply to those competing in the games, even if they are from other countries. This decision has backed some brands into a corner as they feel displaying an ad during the Olympics might be seen as an alignment with the country’s decisions.

Another struggle is that companies are finding different ways to advertise without officially sponsoring the event. Anhueser-Busch, a long time sponsor of the Olympics, found sponsoring the US Olympic team to be just as effective and inexpensive as the whole event. Anhueser-Busch plans to expand its advertising focus from TV to include a stronger focus on digital and social media.

NBC is combating this change to digital media by offering its top 16 Olympic sponsors advertising opportunities on where NBC live streams events. NBC’s London live stream, during the Summer Olympics, garnered over 159 million downloads and 64 million live streams. Up dramatically from Beijing in 2008, which only acquired 75 million video downloads and 14 million live streams.

The ad sales for the 2012 Summer Olympics furthered the realization that the event breeds a competition even amongst those who arn’t competing in the actual events. So let the games begin (Not that they already haven’t)!

Cover Photo Source: AlexAranda /

Anthony is a Junior Executive at SJG. He is currently pursuing a BA in Journalism and a minor in Political Science and Multiculturalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. During his free time, Anthony likes to keep tab on the day’s news and drink way too much coffee.